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State and Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss Digital Divide Solutions through Broadband Access

Elected officials, civic leaders, service providers, and industry leaders gathered today to discuss solutions for bridging Massachusetts’ digital divide at the first Massachusetts Broadband Legislative Summit presented by GoNetspeed. A space created for in-depth discussion, the Summit focused on opportunities to improve broadband access throughout the Commonwealth through solutions like one-touch-make-ready, a process that would allow providers to more quickly construct networks that deliver broader access to high-speed internet service.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240513266080/en/

Massachusetts Broadband Legislative Summit presented by GoNetspeed | Jamie Hoare, GoNetspeed Chief Legal Counsel, Christopher Johnson, Mayor of Agawam, and Jim Eisenberg, Policy Advisor for PretiStrategies (Photo: Business Wire)

Massachusetts Broadband Legislative Summit presented by GoNetspeed | Jamie Hoare, GoNetspeed Chief Legal Counsel, Christopher Johnson, Mayor of Agawam, and Jim Eisenberg, Policy Advisor for PretiStrategies (Photo: Business Wire)

The Summit kicked off with comments from GoNetspeed’s President & CEO, Richard Clark, who laid the foundation for the morning’s conversations. Clark expressed “GoNetspeed wants to bring 100% fiber internet to Massachusetts and is ready to invest more than $250 million to do so. To build our infrastructure, providers like GoNetspeed need improved access to utility poles which is led by the pole attachment process. Through the introduction of OTMR, providers would be able to build more network, more quickly to more underserved areas.”

The Summit also heard from Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr., sponsor of H.3208. Representative Puppolo said that “in recent years, we have learned that internet is not a luxury. Communities need access to high-speed options in order to have the ability to compete with neighboring states and communities. The current state of internet use is far beyond using it for basic communication. Internet has become critically important for daily life. Broader access to internet creates more investment in the state, more jobs, and more opportunity.”

Following Representative Puppolo’s comments, Senator Adam Gomez, sponsor of S.2133, said that “in Central Massachusetts, ‘digital divide’ describes communities that have one, or no high-speed internet options. Often, underserved communities are those that need this technology, especially during the pandemic. One of the ways to improve this is by filing legislation and deploying fiber optic networks, further providing the means to be successful well into the future.”

Other speakers included Steve Baker the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Director of Broadband and Digital Equity, Christopher Johnson, Mayor of Agawam, Craig Miller, NYSTA President, Jamie Hoare, GoNetspeed Chief Legal Counsel, and Jim Eisenberg, Policy Advisor for PretiStrategies. Sessions included discussions on the status of broadband in Massachusetts, opportunities to bridge the digital divide, implementation strategies, and more.

More information is available online at www.gonetspeed.com/broadband-summit.

About GoNetspeed:

GoNetspeed, a high-speed fiber internet provider serving residential and business customers in Maine, Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia, formed a partnership with Oak Hill Capital (“Oak Hill”) in January 2021, allowing GoNetspeed to accelerate the expansion of its fiber network throughout the Northeastern U.S. Adding thousands of new service areas every year, GoNetspeed is one of the largest independent internet providers in the east. For more information about GoNetspeed, or to inquire about service in your residence, business or community, visit gonetspeed.com.

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